For my second instalment of a Bi-weekly(ish) segment where I talk about a few projects that I thoroughly enjoyed but haven’t had the time to write a full review so I give you some short concise reasons as why you should listen to it.
Quelle Chris – Innocent Country
Quelle Chris is an Indie rapper with a hell of a personality, he often reminds me of Earl Sweatshirt in the fact that he’s so low-key in his delivery yet has a sharp sense of humour and likes the question everything around him like the inquisitive soul he is. This is a theme that’s all over his new album ‘Innocent Country’; an album that poses so many different questions without answering any of them.
On ‘Innocent Country’ Quelle Chris talks of self-doubt and self-loathing with lines like ‘I barely eat, I barely sleep/ cos when I sleep I’m just reacquainted with mistakes and paths that are way gone’. On the track ‘I Asked God’ he talks to God about what the meaning of life is with even God not giving him a certain answer, acting as an unsure parent. Paired with his delivery this is very similar to how Earl delivered his uncertainty with life on ‘I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside’. Although it is sonically similar to that project as well in that it’s filled with laid back instrumentals, they take a much more washed-out and varied approach. The production was handled by Chris Keys and it’s fantastically Lo-Fi with pianos, guitars and drums all being sounding dreamy and airy, not so minimalistic just simple in structure. Even when there’s an air of nostalgic classiness to the music like on ‘The Plan’ it’s all so lethargic in delivery which really helps when paired with Quelle Chris’s blunt and honest delivery of his lyrics.
Your Old Droog – The Nicest (EP)
Your Old Droog has always had the tag of ‘Nas-sound-alike’ tagged onto him down to the fact that he has a rasp to his voice that in some aspects is similar to the legendary MC’s. Everything else on his last EP ‘The Kinison’ was completely different though, from the way in which he structures his songs, to the way that every track is backed up by an extremely classy instrumental often pulling from Jazz and the way in which topically he talks of life lessons rather than previous experiences of growing up on the streets. He has a more vintage style of rapping but he certainly makes that style his own occasionally rapping from personal experience but mostly trying to address some social issues.
Much of Your Old Droog’s new EP ‘The Nicest’ takes the same approach as his last one, utilising the laidback style that he used on some of the tracks that appeared on there. YOD does have a tendency to occasionally sound sluggish on the slower tracks but the way in which the strings together these concepts in his songs –like on the track ‘Through The Nose’ where he talks about the many different obsessions people have on the subject of the nose, such as drugs and altering it for appearance — is always refreshing and entertaining to hear. Your Old Droog very rarely comes across as overly preachy or like he’s talking down to his audience on this project; they’re just a set of stellar songs.
Wilco – Star Wars
Wilco have been a band that have put out so much music covering so many genres from Americana, Alt-Country, Folk and what many deemed as ‘Dad-Rock’. The Dad-Rock tag shouldn’t have ever really applied and seemed so lazy for a band that were making music that they clearly wanted to hear themselves even if the albums themselves were slightly disappointing compared to previous releases. Their last album saw them breaking out somewhat of that style of Dad-Rock that was being tagged onto them with them going for a more punchy and scrappy sound and that aesthetic transpires further on their new album ‘Star Wars’.
‘Star Wars’ opens with ‘EKG’, an introductory song for the album that features scrappy thin electric guitars playing over the top of an acoustic guitar and some chaotic drums. It’s way more noisy than Wilco has been in a good while, and although the rest of the album never quite captures that noisiness from the introduction, they do an amazing job of marrying Jeff Tweedy’s knack for nailing a melody using his laid-back vocals with the scrappiness of this album like on the tracks ‘More’, ‘Random Name Generator’ and ‘Cold Slope’. They still sweep through many of the influences they’ve always had like on the track ‘The Joke Explained’, but ‘Star Wars’ sounds fresh in that it’s the most exciting and raw Wilco have sounded in years.